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NLIHC Honors Resident Voter-Engagement and Empowerment at Housing Policy Forum

Organizations from Sacramento, CA, and Houston, TX, received this year’s Organizing Awards from NLIHC for leading efforts to achieve affordable and decent housing.

Washington, DC – The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) presented its State and Local Organizing Award to Mutual Housing California for organizing low-income residents to increase voter participation and win ballot initiatives for more affordable housing resources in California. NLIHC bestowed the Resident Organizing Award to Texas Housers for organizing tenants to improve the conditions of HUD-subsidized homes. The awards were presented at NLIHC’s 2019 Housing Policy Forum: Seizing the Moment for Bold Solutions in Washington, DC, on March 28.

The NLIHC Organizing Awards recognize outstanding achievements in state, local and resident organizing that support public policies that ensure more people with the lowest incomes in the U.S. have access to decent, affordable homes. 

Mutual Housing California was selected for the State and Local Organizing Award for taking on a year-long voter-participation effort with its residents as part of a larger movement to secure more local and statewide funding for affordable housing through 2018 ballot measures. Their efforts resulted in a 14% increase in low-income resident voter registration and the participation of over 100 of its residents in leadership training. Residents also participated in door knocking and phone banking to over 44,000 contacts prior to the primary and general elections. As a result of their work and others’, two statewide housing bonds were passed, the first to be approved by California voters in more than a decade. It is estimated these bonds will generate $6 billion in new affordable housing funding. In addition, Mutual Housing California was instrumental in passing a city measure that will generate tens of millions of dollars for local affordable housing in the coming years.

“We are honored to receive this award from NLIHC,” said Mutual Housing California CEO Roberto Jiménez. “The passage of these measures in 2018 only represents a down payment in terms of solving our state’s massive housing shortage. We plan to continue to organize efforts that will give people with the lowest incomes a louder voice at the ballot box and we will continue to track these measures to ensure funds are equitably distributed. Our mission for 2019 and beyond is to advocate for more affordable and stable homes for vulnerable residents of Sacramento, California.”

Texas Housers was selected as the winner of the Resident Organizing Award for its new organizing initiative called “12 Moms.” The initiative began in 2018 with a goal of recruiting and working with 12 women with children living in HUD-subsidized homes to elevate their voices around the poor conditions of those homes. Over the course of the year, 12 Moms greatly exceeded its goal by organizing an active group of 120 tenant leaders who mobilized to improve the quality of their HUD-subsidized homes and properties. The residents testified at city council meetings and met with HUD officials, and several became plaintiffs in two lawsuits against HUD.

“12 Moms plans to continue to develop tenant leaders to demand safe and decent subsidized housing and make their voices heard in promoting a more equitable Houston,” said Texas Housers Houston and Southeast Texas Co-Director Zoë Middleton. “We will utilize the national platform of this award to draw attention to the dangerous living conditions of many federally-subsidized housing properties. We will continue to call on HUD and the City of Houston to invest in the well-being of thousands of families and improve conditions that negatively affect residents’ health.” 

NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel expressed her appreciation for the work of Mutual Housing California and Texas Housers. “These organizations are examples of what happens when residents are supported in their efforts to advocate for more affordable and decent housing,” said Ms. Yentel. “Mutual Housing California helped to achieve monumental statewide victories for housing-related ballot measures, while Texas Housers helped to shift power by supporting efforts of tenants living in subsidized housing to improve the quality of their homes. NLIHC is honored to present these organizations with the 2019 Organizing Awards and looks forward to highlighting their future successes.”

In addition to honoring these organizations at its 2019 Housing Policy Forum, NLIHC is highlighting the honorees and other nominees for the award at: 


About National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC): Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes.

About Mutual Housing California: Incorporated in 1988, the mission of Mutual Housing California is to develop, operate and advocate for sustainable housing that builds strong communities through resident participation and leadership development.

About Texas Housers: Texas Low Income Housing Information Service, or Texas Housers, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation established in Austin in 1988 by a concerned group of community leaders, nonprofit, public and private housing providers and low income people.